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Disaster Recovery As A Service Experiencing Explosive Growth

Early entrants into the “as a service” industry like Salesforce.com saw the potential in delivering cloud-based product offerings in an emerging industry. In its earliest days, the convenience of accessing software via the Internet from anywhere was unparalleled, and early adopters were eager to enjoy the full-scale flexibility of the web-based application business model. Faced with a future of possibility, like no longer being tethered to hardware investments, or using software tied to a specific location, software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) presents unlimited potential.

As more organizations embraced the migration to the cloud, new cloud solution providers were born almost daily, each offering similar cookie-cutter services as the next – though not all were the same. In the last decade, it’s become clear that industry leaders are household names, like:

These technology giants have earned their top positions in the cloud, offering secure storage, processes, web applications, and have enabled productivity for countless brands, but while the cloud facilitates increased data storage and global communications and transmissions, the chance for data loss increases, as well.

The challenge of protecting businesses from data loss and downtime has resulted in countless sleepless nights for IT Project Administrators and Support staff, and no one is spared.

The Ultimate Backup Plan

The next logical step in cloud-based services was disaster recovery, or Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (“DRaaS”).

We have a regular backup process – isn’t that the same thing?

In short? No. Fundamentally, backing up your data only protects your data – makes sense, right?

What’s the difference between backups and DRaaS? Data backups are just that – a backup of a business’ data. A situation can be considered a disaster when a business loses more than half of all systems required to function, and at the same time. Disaster recovery offers a built-in resilience that can minimize downtime, enabling businesses to protect revenue flows and safeguard the continuity of business.

Today’s businesses typically have a hybrid of physical hardware and cloud-based technology, presenting an interesting dichotomy for DRaaS providers. The beauty of DRaaS with virtual technology is if one virtual machine becomes unusable, its replacement can be prepared in mere moments – no hardware purchase required!

If an IT Project Administrator and Support Supervisor is responsible for two or more virtual machines and a physical server with 3 terabytes of data, DRaaS not only safeguards the data on the server but can assist in reinstating the virtual machines in a matter of minutes, as opposed to hours or days when using traditional backup model.

Because of this, virtualization of disaster recovery processes into DRaaS has simplified recovery procedures. Without the required investment in new hardware, virtualized DRaaS has truly recognized the need to provide more cost-effective options to get businesses back on their feet, and fast. That speed might just result in making or breaking a quarterly revenue goal!

What prevents businesses from proper disaster recovery planning?

  • Tangible costs: hardware, real estate, storage, etc.
  • Intangible costs: labor, utilities, support, and maintenance, etc.
  • Incomplete procedures due to the unexpected

What are some other things to keep in mind when looking for a DRaaS solution?

  • Don’t limit disaster recovery planning to only certain types of events, like fire or power failure.
    • Natural disasters can’t truly be predicted, but neither can events like cyber attacks, hardware failure, or damage due to building infrastructure like water main breaks.
    • You’re familiar with Pro/Con lists, right? Adapt to a Likely/Unlikely list and detail possible disasters to plan for, no matter how unlikely. When the list has several options, arrange in order of most likely to least likely, and attack it with fervor, developing a disaster recovery process for each potential event.
  • Be prepared by brushing up on your process and running test scenarios.
    • Blow the dust of that binder and make sure the manual is up to date – including software inventory, passwords and protocols, and everything in between. There will be little help in disaster recovery, and a waste of time and money on DRaaS, if processes aren’t in place for what needs to be recovered and how.
  • Invoke the KISS method of disaster recovery planning.
    • Keep It Simple, Sweetheart! Make sure these processes don’t rely on any one individual to roll out, otherwise it may as well not exist.

With the right planning, it’s possible to recover from a systemic failure and get back to business by remembering the basics: plan, test, measure, repeat. Ensuring the proper process is in place is the best way to prevent catastrophic failure from becoming a full-scale catastrophe – or worse!

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